The Escambia County school district rejected the city’s request for it to begin a conversion to natural gas powered buses—something the Leon County system has already successfully done, saving millions. The district’s transportation director found the new-fangled idea too new and, of course, Superintendent Malcolm Thomas agreed.
Thomas, his staff and the school board completely ignored the rising diesel fuel prices and the national move towards alternative fuels.
On March 12, President Obama announced his proposals for both natural gas & electric vehicles
Launching a “Race to the Top” challenge for communities to encourage advanced vehicle adoption:
The President is announcing a new $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to catalyze up to 10 to 15 model communities to invest in the necessary infrastructure, remove the regulatory barriers, and create the local incentives to support deployment of advanced vehicles at critical mass. This proposal embraces a strategy similar to that outlined by Senators Merkley and Alexander in their Promoting Electric Vehicles legislation.
This proposal, however, would be ‘fuel neutral’, allowing communities to determine if electrification, natural gas, or other alternative fuels would be the best fit. Deployment Communities would serve as real-world laboratories, leveraging limited federal resources to develop different models to deploy advanced vehicles at scale. The program would also support the development of up to 5 regional Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) corridors where alternative fuel trucks can transport goods without using a drop of oil.
Making advanced vehicles more affordable: The President proposes to improve the current tax credit for electric vehicles by
o Expanding eligibility for the credit to a broader range of advanced vehicle technologies;
o Increasing the amount from $7,500, making it scalable up to $10,000;
o Reforming the credit to make it available at the point-of-sale by making it transferable to the dealer or financier, allowing consumers to benefit when they purchase a vehicle rather than when they file their taxes; and
o Removing the cap on the number of vehicles per manufacturer eligible for the credit and, instead, ramping down and eventually eliminating the credit at the end of the decade.
Accelerating deployment of alternative-fuel trucks:
The President is proposing a new tax incentive for commercial trucks that provides a credit for 50% of the incremental cost of a dedicated alternative-fuel truck, including trucks powered by natural gas or electricity, for a five-year period. This incentive – paired with support through programs like the Energy Department’s National Clean Fleets Partnership, which provides technical assistance to large company fleets interested in moving toward vehicles that rely on little or no oil.
Launching ‘EV Everywhere’, a clean energy grand challenge to make electric-powered vehicles as affordable and convenient as gasoline-powered vehicles for the average American family within a decade:
This national effort is the second in a series of Clean Energy Grand Challenges designed by the Department of Energy to bring together America’s best and brightest scientists, engineers, and businesses to work together to solve the most pressing energy technology challenges of our time. EV Everywhere will enable companies in the U.S. to produce electric vehicles at lower cost, with an improved vehicle range and an increased fast-charging ability, so average American families will be able to own and drive an electric vehicle as affordable and convenient as today’s gasoline-powered vehicles.
The savings from using lower-cost electricity instead of gasoline, roughly $100 per month for the average driver, combined with the reduction of upfront vehicle cost, will lower energy costs for American consumers and businesses. The President’s FY13 Budget includes $650 million to advance vehicle and battery technologies at the Energy Department, including investments that support this new grand challenge. EV Everywhere will invest in breakthrough R&D for advanced batteries, electric drivetrain technologies, lightweight vehicle structures, and fast charging technology.
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